Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (680)

Robert Dowds

Question:

680. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health the reasons the epilepsy units at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and at Cork University Hospital have not yet been opened; and when he expects to be able to open them in full. [8204/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Cork and Beaumont are two of six regional centres which have been identified by the HSE's Clinical Care Programme for Epilepsy for the provision of specialist epilepsy services. Developments so far under the Programme include the opening of Rapid Access Clinics at four of these centre, including Beaumont, St James’s, Galway and Limerick. The Rapid Access clinics are led by Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs). Under the Programme, 10.5 (WTE) Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) have been recruited to lead these clinics so that a total of 12 ANPs are now in place across the four centres, delivering services on site and on an outreach basis.

The two Epilepsy Monitoring Units (EMUs) planned for Cork and Beaumont under the Programme will increase pre-surgical evaluation capacity. Monitoring is required for those patients with the worst effects of epilepsy, and patients at these units will require 24/7 care.

The staffing requirements to enable the units to be safely opened have been identified. In regard to the planned EMU at Beaumont, I am advised by the HSE that, having secured recruitment approval from the National Control Group, Beaumont is progressing the recruitment of the posts necessary to support the service development. The recruitment of the necessary nursing personnel is a key element to facilitate phased opening of the unit as nursing staff come into post.

With regard to Cork, the HSE has advised that it is the intention of the Cork University Hospital management to open the EMU in Quarter 3 of this year and this will be included in the HSE South’s 2013 Regional Service Plan.